This story was updated at 9:15 p.m. March 30
NORWALK, Conn. A large amount of narcotics, two firearms and nearly $300,000 in cash were seized Wednesday in Norwalk as three men were arrested on drug distribution charges, according to a statement from David B. Fein, U.S. attorney for Connecticut, and Kevin Lane, acting special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England.
Police found 10 pounds of methamphetamine, 275 grams of suspected cocaine powder and 5 to 8 grams of raw heroin in two apartments, according to the statement.
The raid stems from a New York City narcotics-trafficking investigation. New York police received information that people selling drugs out of 18-20 Taylor Ave. and 20 Woodbury Ave. in Norwalk had just received a multiple-kilogram shipment of cocaine.
On Wednesday morning, members of the DEA Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the Norwalk Police Department's Special Services Division executed a court-authorized search of 20 Woodbury Ave. They found Hector Valle, Jose Mendez-Luna and Eduardo Villegas, according to the statement.
Officers also found a 9-millimeter firearm, a magazine with four rounds of ammunition and 275 grams of suspected cocaine powder in one bedroom. They found several individual baggies of suspected cocaine, $8,000 in cash, 5 to 8 grams of raw heroin, and suspected drug ledgers in another bedroom, occupied by Valle. Officers also found 1 ounce of heroin in the kitchen.
A subsequent court-authorized search of 18-20 Taylor Ave. yielded 5 kilograms of heroin, 10 pounds of methamphetamine, $279,000 in cash, one handgun, ammunition and narcotics packaging materials, the statement said.
Mayor Richard Moccia said the successful raid was due to "a lot of quick communication, a lot of quick action by all the parties involved."
"This sort of happened on the fly," he said. "The instant communications that they had with the New York cops, it's impressive."
Some of the seized money will wind up in Norwalk's asset forfeiture fund. "As I always say, we get the money from the bad guys and that helps the good people, the taxpayers, that we can use that money for extra police overtime," Moccia said. He added that he didn't know how much it would be as the percentage varies, depending on the circumstances.
Police suspect that Valle, Mendez-Luna and Villegas are using false identification, according to the statement. The men have been charged in a federal criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, cocaine and heroin. Each charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
The defendants appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport. All three have been detained.
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